6/15/17

Badlands


Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 3 Sawbones series) New York: Redhook Books, 2017. ***** Interview with the Author. Release date June 27, 2017.

In the third book in the series, Laura is once again separated from William and has been kidnapped by Rosemond. William is on trial for desertion and Laura has no money and no place to go. Rosemond claims that William asked her to look after Laura and to keep her safe. When the trunk of full of their belongings is left on a train and Laura wakes from a drug-induced stupor, she has a hard time believing anything she is told. Is the whore Rosemund her friend or foe and does William have feelings for her? Who is the mysterious stranger who seems to be everywhere and is definitely interested in their past? When Laura receives a telegram that informs her that William has been executed, she realizes that it is time to confront her accusers and clear her name.

I read somewhere that this is the last book in the series. I hope that there will be others, however, Lenhardt wrapped up the series and provided justice. It was a satisfying ending and I look forward to future books by Lenhardt. Not since Outlander have I enjoyed a historical fiction series or one that held my attention like this one did. 


I received an ecopy for a review.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#badlands 

Sawbones


Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 1 Sawbones Series) New York: Redhook Books, 2016. 410 pages. Reading Group Guide. *****

In this first book in the series, it is 1871 and Catherine Bennett is one of the few female doctors in New York City. Catherine comes home one night to see the police banging on her door, she is accused of murdering her supposed lover with a fireplace poker. Her best friend, James, persuades her that she will be hung if she stays to defend herself. Deciding to head west to Colorado and starting a new life, Catherine encounters horrors that she never could have imagined. Changing her name does not protect her from being pursued by bounty hunters and those who want to collect the reward for her capture.

I read the 2nd book, Blood Oath,  and then reserved the first one at the Public Library. This series is captivating, engrossing and I love it. History, romance, murder, betrayal, this series has it all. Lenhardt does a wonderful job of leaving us hanging, my only complaint is having to wait for the next one to find out what happens to Laura/Catherine and William.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#sawbonesseries #historicalfiction #sawbones

Blood Oath


Blood Oath by Melissa Lenhardt. (Book 2, Sawbones Series) New York; Redhook Books, 2017. 282 pages *****

In this second book in the Sawbones Series, Kindle and Laura are heading to Fort Worth disguised as brothers trying to stay one step ahead of the bounty hunters and Pinkerton detective looking for them. Laura's voice is still hoarse after her encounter with Cotter Black and she is recovering from her physical ailments after her brutal attack at the hands of her kidnappers. Kindle has grown a beard and sports an eye patch attempting to hide his scars and evade the military consequences of his desertion. No stranger to violence, Laura and Kindle are willing to kill in order to be safe and to stay together.  As a doctor, Laura questions her ability to practice medicine in the future based on her acts in the present. Laura risks her life to save a Native American woman who is being savaged by bandits, only to once again find her reckless act curtails her freedom. However, Laura is an independent woman, not a trait valued on the frontier) and Kindle is madly in love with her. Seeking solace with Kindle's sister, who runs an orphanage, Laura and Kindle must face their own demons while learning to trust each other.

I received an ecopy for a review.

I read this book in one sitting on a flight from Bozeman, MT (by way of Dallas FW) to Philadelphia. I love historical fiction and this series really captured my attention. I received the 2nd one to review and quickly reserved the first one from my Public Library and requested to review the 3rd. I am so impatient when I get to the end and have to wait until the next one is published. (I don't do too well watching mini-series either) The violence of the frontier is realistically portrayed and the brutal acts committed against humanity are well documented. But, it is also a love story and one that survives against all odds. I recommend that you start with Sawbones because it is a little disjointed to start with Blood Oath. I could follow the story, because Lenhardt does backtrack, but I think you will enjoy them in order.

Melissa Lenhardt is on the board of directors for the North Dallas chapter of Sisters of Crime, as well as a member of the DFW Writers Workshop. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

#sawbonesseries #bloodoath #historicalfiction

Maxine Rosenthal and One - Block Wonder

I had the pleasure of attending a One - Block Wonder Workshop by Maxine Rosenthal. What a fun, inspiring and challenging day! Maxine is truly a delight, she has a quick wit and likes to make the process easy and fun!



My biggest challenge was to select a fabric that I liked... which we then cut into strips and then into the hexagons!

Some of the final hexagons!

I liked the process and design so much, I may actually finish this quilt...stay tuned.

For more information about the One - Block Wonders...there are several books...




#oneblockwonders #oneblockwonder #maxinerosenthal

6/10/17

Murder Mystery Quilt 2017

I thought it would be easier to keep up with the Murder Mystery Quilt each month than it has been. I have been travelling and not very motivated to sew. If I did a project like this again, I will purchase my fabric each month when a new pattern or row is introduced. I purchased it all up front and now I'm not sure I like how it is coming together. It is supposed to be divided on the diagonal with warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other side.


I did substitute fabric the very first month, but I seem to like the ones where all of the fabric is coordinating. I will have to wait and see what this month brings design wise and have faith and continue onward and upward.

#murdermysteryquilt2017

6/6/17

The Promise Girls


The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick. New York: Kensington Books, 2017. 346 pages.  A Reading Group Guide ****


The Promise Girls are three sisters who are raised by an overbearing, controlling mother. They have been conceived by "test tube" and groomed by their mother to be a genius in a particular career. Unfortunately for Minerva Promise, her daughters -- gifted pianist Joanie, artisitic Meg and storyteller Avery, are removed from her care and squander their gifts. Fast forward twenty years and each of the girls is questioning her choices in life and personal relationships. A genius himself, filmmaker Hal Seeger, contacts the girls in an effort to document their lives and reconnect with Joanie. When Meg is in a car crash and is faced with huge medical bills, the sisters agree to cooperate  and allow Hal and his film crew into their lives. This decision has a huge impact on the present especially when secrets are revealed and the girls are reunited with their mother.


I purchased this book and had the pleasure of meeting Marie.

This is the first book in some time that Marie has written that does not include quilting and one that when finished, she felt "incandescently happy." As she should, it is well-written and complete. A intriguing story that fuels the "nature vs nurture" debate and when is someone considered a failure? Is it career choices, relationships, family or being happy? Bostwick is a natural as a storyteller and she grows as a writer with each book.

Marie Bostwick was born and raised in the northwest. In the three decades since her marriage, Marie and her family have moved frequently living in eight different states and eighteen different addresses. These experiences have given Marie a unique perspective that enables her to write about people from all walks of life and corners the country with insight and authenticity.  Marie currently resides in Oregon, where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts.
Visit her at www.mariebostwick.com.


#thepromisegirls

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool


I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. 232 pages *****

This mother - daughter writing team will make you laugh out loud. From Philadelphia to New York City, told in alternating voices, they keep it real and talk about everyday life experiences...smell dating, pets, online drunk shopping, recipes, New Year's Eve, etc.  Both women are equally funny and have no problem tackling sensitive subjects and making themselves the object of the joke. Thoroughly enjoyable!

I received an ecopy for a review.

I highly recommend this book if you or someone you know needs a laugh!

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning novelist and coauthor of this series of humorous memoirs. There are 30 million copies of her novels in print, and she has been published in thirty countries. She and Francesca also write a Sunday column entitled Chick Wit for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SERRITELLA is a New York Times bestselling author and a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for her novella. She lives in New York City with one dog and one cat, so far, and she is working on a novel.

#humorousbooks




6/1/17

Allie and Bea


Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Lake Union Publishing, 2017. 392 pages. "Allie and Bea Book Club Questions. *****

Allie and Bea form an unlikely alliance when Allie's parents are arrested for tax fraud and elederly Bea becomes homeless after falling for an IRS telephone scam. Allie is placed in a foster home after her parent's arrest and is soon in over her head when one of the girls steals the only things that Allie owns and Allie files a complaint against her. Allie leaves the home when her life is threatened and finds herself in an even dire situation. Bea packs up her belongings and lives in her van with her cat to stretch what little money she has left.  One night as Bea is driving down the highway Allie jumps in front of her van, climbs in  and tells Bea to "Drive!"

I received an ecopy to review.

There is something so "right" in Hyde's stories, that feeling that there are good people in the world and everything is going to be okay. Allie and Bea are generations apart, but form a bond that enables them to survive without a home and little money. They each have their own concept of right and wrong and neither are willing to compromise on some issues and situations. Bea has forgotten what it is like to "live" for herself and Allie has lived a very privileged and sheltered life. There aren't always happy endings, but there are memories to be made and people to love. Hyde has a way of showing and not telling through her characters. Allie and Bea is one that you will want to share with your friends.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. For more information http://www.catherineryanhyde.com.